Experiments in fiction and reality: Catalan Separatists and Reckless Meme Necromancers

The working definition of “meme” is somewhat dry, and less innovative than it might seem. Although the term was coined by Richard Dawkins, the notion that ideas are subject to evolutionary pressures is much older, dating back to the origins of evolutionary theory itself. As zoologist and philosopher Thomas Henry Huxley (nicknamed “Darwin’s bulldog”) asserted in 1880: “The struggle for existence holds as much in … Continue reading Experiments in fiction and reality: Catalan Separatists and Reckless Meme Necromancers

Contemplation and Weapons of Meme Destruction

The War in Afghanistan is the longest conflict the United States has ever been engaged in. Despite what the diminishing media attention it gets might lead to believe, it is still ongoing. Following the successful invasion of the country in 2001, a coalition of 40 countries, including all NATO members, formed a security mission to fight the insurgency that was still controlling much of the … Continue reading Contemplation and Weapons of Meme Destruction

The Fool archetype as an agent of evolution: an introduction to Internet meme ecology

In the last post we introduced the idea of conceptual and sensual memes. In general, sensual memes are more infectious than those based on concepts. This idea (this meme!) is nothing new: an image is worth a thousand words, they say. This is because sensual stimulation appeals to a more primitive part of the brain, which requires less processing. It is energetically cheaper: sensual reactions … Continue reading The Fool archetype as an agent of evolution: an introduction to Internet meme ecology

Futurist rioting, conceptualism and sensuality

The Futurist Manifesto was first published in 1909. It was written by Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, a celebration of speed, youth, violence and technology. It was also a declaration of the author’s hopes for his country in the 20th century: a country of industry, innovation and dynamism, fully engaged with the world. It decried Italy’s main identity as the seat of a long-dead culture, … Continue reading Futurist rioting, conceptualism and sensuality

Liquefying the Heartland: an experiment in wild geopolitical speculation

The Great Game, an expression popularized by Rudyard Kipling, was the geopolitical competition which existed between the British and Russian Empires over Central Asia during much of the 19th century. Russia was in the middle of its southward and eastward continental expansion. Britain, on the other hand, was making important advances from India. The two powers had clashed elsewhere, in the Crimean War (1853-1856), and … Continue reading Liquefying the Heartland: an experiment in wild geopolitical speculation

From based to cringe: Tabarnia and badly waged memetic guerrilla

The Spanish War of Succession was a pan-European conflict ignited by the death of Charles II in 1700. Charles II was the last of the Spanish Habsburgs, a product of several generations of endogamic marriage, and is thus popularly seen as the archetype of decadent inbred monarchy. He was called “the Bewitched”, and suffered of many physical illnesses, probably related to some hormone deficiency. The … Continue reading From based to cringe: Tabarnia and badly waged memetic guerrilla

The deconstruction of conventional warfare and cultural banditry

The word guerrilla means “small war” in Spanish. It was first used with its current connotations in the Spanish War of Independence (1808-1814). The conflict is called the Peninsular War in English language historiography, as it started when Spain and France attacked Portugal and its British allies in 1807. With the Spanish crown’s unknowing collaboration, Napoleon surreptitiously invaded Spain while advancing towards Portugal. He took … Continue reading The deconstruction of conventional warfare and cultural banditry

Parrhesia, subversion and piracy: the rise of the cyber-optimists

Parrhesia, from the Greek παρρησία, means literally “to say everything”, to “not hold anything back”. It is used to describe a manner of speaking frankly or boldly, to the point of bringing danger to oneself. The concept was central to the Cynical school of thought, a Greek philosophical movement from around the 4th century BC. The name of this school comes from κύων – kyon … Continue reading Parrhesia, subversion and piracy: the rise of the cyber-optimists

Geopolitical Change Denialism

As we’ve explained before, when a conflict arises, the possible positions to be taken in regards to it, its memetic frame, is previous to the choice of sides by the participants. Geopolitical discussions are no exception. The polarization is magnified by the great amount of information available, the infinite ways in which that information can be interpreted, and the connection geopolitics has to many other … Continue reading Geopolitical Change Denialism

Don Quixote and the Spanish Foreign Legion: on Vox and choosing the right memes

Vox is a rightist party from Spain of which we have already talked about in the past. For many years, Spain has lacked a strong political parties occupying the fringe right space: the right was monolythic, and almost synonymous with the People’s Party (PP). The PP has long been accused by the left of being continuist to the Francoist establishment. Many of its founding politicians … Continue reading Don Quixote and the Spanish Foreign Legion: on Vox and choosing the right memes